The Northern Smart card - we’re making it easier and faster for regular peak travellers to buy tickets
In partnership with Transport for the North, Northern Smart cards are now available for season ticket holders.
First thing’s first, what is a Smart card?
Good question. It’s a plastic, contactless card with a microchip embedded inside it that stores your Season Tickets. The Smart card technology is an upgrade to paper tickets. It gives you a quicker, easier and hassle-free way to buy and renew your Season Ticket when it suits you - whether that's online, at a Northern ticket machine or at a Northern booking office. You can also travel through the station far quicker as you ‘tap and go’ instead of feeding your ticket through the gate.
What are the pros of having a Smart card?
Simply put, Smart cards are far more convenient, last a lot longer and you can also renew online and on the go.
Saying “goodbye” to paper tickets will give you a faster and easier way to buy and renew season tickets at your convenience. They’re completely free, they don’t wear out and by buying your tickets online you can beat the usual Monday morning rush to renew. You can use a Smart card with weekly, monthly and annual season tickets.
How do I get a Smart card?
Switching from a paper season ticket to a Smart card or getting one for the first time is easy. Request your free personalised card online or pop in to your nearest Northern ticket office at your next renewal.
If you're already in possession of a Smart card issued to you by at a ticket office you do not need to order a second card. You can also add a TransPennine Express Smart card to your account in this way.
How do I purchase a Smart season ticket?
Now you’re in possession of a Smart card you can easily purchase or renew a Smart season ticket.
Do so at a time that suits you online or on the Northern Android App, at your local ticket office or at a Northern ticket machine. Tickets bought via the Northern Android App are automatically added to the card via its NFC functionality, however those bought via the Northern website must be loaded by one of the following means:
- Through the Northern app. This is by far the quickest and most convenient way to collect a ticket. Simply ensure phone’s NFC is switched on (the app will warn you if it isn’t) and press the ‘Read Smart card’ icon at the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Hold your Smart card against your phone and if your new ticket is ready for collection, it will automatically load on to the card and show appear in our ‘active’ ticket list.
- At a Northern ticket machine. Present the smartcard you’ve chosen for the purchase to the machine by placing it in the Smart card reader. The machine will read your card and display its contents. Provided your new ticket is ready for collection, it will automatically be loaded onto your card - a message “New products have been downloaded to your card” will be displayed on the screen to confirm this. Pressing the ‘Home’ icon on the lower left of the ticket machine screen will refresh the display.
NOTE: The booking portal will ask you to select a station to collect your ticket at, however, if you have an Android NFC phone you can avoid this and collect your ticket by touching your smartcard to the back of your phone. If you want to do this, the station shown for collection is irrelevant and you can ignore it.
There’s also no need to press any of the ticket machine’s buttons when collecting a smart ticket – just place your Smart card in the Smart card reader and any tickets waiting to be collected will automatically be loaded. You can always check that it has loaded and the relevant expiry date by placing your card on the reader once more and then checking the screen display.
How do I travel with my Smart card?
Now your Smart season ticket is loaded to your card, simply board your train as you normally would and the conductor will scan and check your ticket as per usual. Done!
When will a Smart ticket bought online be ready for collection?
It can take up to two hours for a ticket to be available for collection via either the Northern app or a ticket machine.